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Kanazawarama

Thomas Volscho writes: David Weakliem mentioned your blog posting on one of Kanazawa’s papers and its methodological shortcomings. I wrote a critique of one of his papers for The Sociological Quarterly and the editor gave him a chance to respond and allowed me to write a reply. He said he would respond but never did. […]

The cargo cult continues

Juan Carlos Lopez writes: Here’s a news article: . . . Here’s the paper: . . . [Details removed to avoid embarrassing the authors of the article in question.] I [Lopez] am especially bothered by the abstract of this paper, which makes bold claims in the context of a small and noisy study which measurements […]

Incorporating Bayes factor into my understanding of scientific information and the replication crisis

I was having this discussion with Dan Kahan, who was arguing that my ideas about type M and type S error, while mathematically correct, represent a bit of a dead end in that, if you want to evaluate statistically-based scientific claims, you’re better off simply using likelihood ratios or Bayes factors. Kahan would like to […]

“The following needs to be an immutable law of journalism: when someone with no track record comes into a field claiming to be able to do a job many times better for a fraction of the cost, the burden of proof needs to shift quickly and decisively onto the one making the claim. The reporter simply has to assume the claim is false until substantial evidence is presented to the contrary.”

Mark Palko writes: The following needs to be an immutable law of journalism: when someone with no track record comes into a field claiming to be able to do a job many times better for a fraction of the cost, the burden of proof needs to shift quickly and decisively onto the one making the […]

The retraction paradox: Once you retract, you implicitly have to defend all the many things you haven’t yet retracted

Mark Palko points to this news article by Beth Skwarecki on Goop, “the Gwyneth Paltrow pseudoscience empire.” Here’s Skwarecki: When Goop publishes something weird or, worse, harmful, I often find myself wondering what are they thinking? Recently, on Jimmy Kimmel, Gwyneth laughed at some of the newsletter’s weirder recommendations and said “I don’t know what […]

Beyond “power pose”: Using replication failures and a better understanding of data collection and analysis to do better science

So. A bunch of people pointed me to a New York Times article by Susan Dominus about Amy Cuddy, the psychology researcher and Ted-talk star famous for the following claim (made in a paper written with Dana Carney and Andy Yap and published in 2010): That a person can, by assuming two simple 1-min poses, […]

I disagree with Tyler Cowen regarding a so-called lack of Bayesianism in religious belief

Tyler Cowen writes: I am frustrated by the lack of Bayesianism in most of the religious belief I observe. I’ve never met a believer who asserted: “I’m really not sure here. But I think Lutheranism is true with p = .018, and the next strongest contender comes in only at .014, so call me Lutheran.” […]

Response to some comments on “Abandon Statistical Significance”

The other day, Blake McShane, David Gal, Christian Robert, Jennifer Tackett, and I wrote a paper, Abandon Statistical Significance, that began: In science publishing and many areas of research, the status quo is a lexicographic decision rule in which any result is first required to have a p-value that surpasses the 0.05 threshold and only […]

I am (somewhat) in agreement with Fritz Strack regarding replications

Fritz Strack read the recent paper of McShane, Gal, Robert, Tackett, and myself and pointed out that our message—abandon statistical significance, consider null hypothesis testing as just one among many pieces of evidence, recognize that all null hypotheses are false (at least in the fields where Strack and I do our research) and don’t use […]

Abandon Statistical Significance

Blake McShane, David Gal, Christian Robert, Jennifer Tackett, and I wrote a short paper arguing for the removal of null hypothesis significance testing from its current gatekeeper role in much of science. We begin: In science publishing and many areas of research, the status quo is a lexicographic decision rule in which any result is […]

It seemed to me that most destruction was being done by those who could not choose between the two

Amateurs, dilettantes, hacks, cowboys, clones — Nick Cave [Note from Dan 11Sept: I wanted to leave some clear air after the StanCon reminder, so I scheduled this post for tomorrow. Which means you get two posts (one from me, one from Andrew) on this in two days. That’s probably more than the gay face study deserves.] […]

Too much backscratching and happy talk: Junk science gets to share in the reputation of respected universities

Nick Stevenson writes: I agree that it’s disappointing that so many publications that pride themselves on the quality of their journalism – NYTimes, WashPo, Slate, Vox – ran with the EIP’s work, but does the fault really lie with them? This work has been promoted on the conference circuit for years by a full professor […]

Sucker MC’s keep falling for patterns in noise

Mike Spagat writes: Apologies if forty people just sent this to you but maybe it’s obscure enough that I’m the first. It’s a news article by Irina Ivanova entitled, “‘Very unattractive’ workers can out-earn pretty people, study finds.” Spagat continues: You may be able to recognize a pattern here: Tiny, noisy sample Surprise result Journal […]

Bigshot statistician keeps publishing papers with errors; is there anything we can do to get him to stop???

OK, here’s a paper with a true theorem but then some false corollaries. First the theorem: The above is actually ok. It’s all true. But then a few pages later comes the false statement: This is just wrong, for two reasons. First, the relevant reference distribution is discrete uniform, not continuous uniform, so the normal […]

It’s not “lying” exactly . . . What do you call it when someone deliberately refuses to correct an untruth?

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens tells the story. First the background: On Thursday I interviewed Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo on a public stage . . . There was one sour moment. Midway through the interview, Pompeo abruptly slammed The New York Times for publishing the name last month of a senior covert […]

How does a Nobel-prize-winning economist become a victim of bog-standard selection bias?

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes in with a story: Linking to a new paper by Jorge Luis García, James J. Heckman, and Anna L. Ziff, an economist Sue Dynarski makes this “joke” on facebook—or maybe it’s not a joke: How does one adjust standard errors to account for the fact that N of […]

Daryl Bem and Arthur Conan Doyle

Daniel Engber wrote an excellent news article on the replication crisis, offering a historically-informed perspective similar to my take in last year’s post, “What has happened down here is the winds have changed.” The only thing I don’t like about Engber’s article is its title, “Daryl Bem Proved ESP Is Real. Which means science is […]

Again: Let’s stop talking about published research findings being true or false

Coincidentally, on the same day this post appeared, a couple people pointed me to a news article by Paul Basken entitled, “A New Theory on How Researchers Can Solve the Reproducibility Crisis: Do the Math.” This is not good.

Let’s stop talking about published research findings being true or false

I bear some of the blame for this. When I heard about John Ioannidis’s paper, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False,” I thought it was cool. Ioannidis was on the same side as me, and Uri Simonsohn, and Greg Francis, and Paul Meehl, in the replication debate: he felt that there was a lot […]

Problems with the jargon “statistically significant” and “clinically significant”

Someone writes: After listening to your EconTalk episode a few weeks ago, I have a question about interpreting treatment effect magnitudes, effect sizes, SDs, etc. I studied Econ/Math undergrad and worked at a social science research institution in health policy as a research assistant, so I have a good amount of background. At the institution […]